Dennis Sun: It's Grilling Season

Columnist Dennis Sun writes a new study, "...found lab-grown or 'cultivated' imitation meat’s environmental impact is likely to be “orders of magnitude” higher than retail beef, based on current and near-term production methods."

Dennis Sun

June 11, 20234 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

They say grilling season officially starts on Memorial Day weekend, but it only really begins when the weather gets warmer. This is when we start at my house.

Beef prices are on the rise, but it doesn’t seem like it’s been an issue during all of the graduation parties taking place over the last couple of weekends. It’s like going to a football game where the tailgate section is always there, and most of them are serving beef.

As I have said before in this column, beef, lamb and pork are commodities, in which supply and demand control prices.

The meat market has a number of players, such as producers, feeders and processors. But, it is not often all three players make money at the same time. Currently, producers and feeders – to some extent – are making money.

But, due to inflation and the high cost of inputs, both producer and feeder returns are not as high as they should be.

The public needs to realize the quality of meat is getting better all of the time. Due to improved genetics of animals raised by producers, meat products are also improving.

With beef, there are more Prime beef products on the meat counters, whereas in the past, one might only find Prime beef in high-class restaurants. Now, we are grilling Prime or top Select grades of beef in our own backyards anytime we please.

According to a Newsweek poll of 1,500 U.S. voters, published in Drovers, a majority of Americans regularly eat meat and believe it’s a healthy choice.

The poll showed 35 percent strongly agree with the statement, “Meat is healthy,” while 41 percent said they agree and 17 percent said they neither agree or disagree. Only four percent said they disagree, and one percent said they strongly disagree with the statement.

In addition, 81 percent of those polled eat meat at least once a week, and 10 percent said they eat it once or twice a month. Only four percent and three percent of the respondents said they rarely or never eat meat, respectively.

The poll also showed 55 percent of respondents would not feel safe eating artificial, lab-grown meat products, and 57 percent said they would not eat it.

The Newsweek article continues, “Despite the great strides made by vegetarian and vegan movements over the past few decades, most Americans aren’t going to give up their meat-based diets anytime soon.”

Lab-grown imitation meat, which is cultured from animal cells, is often thought to be more environmentally friendly than real beef because it is predicted to need less land and water to produce, while also resulting in less greenhouse gas emissions than raising cattle.

However, in a preprint study – which has yet to be peer reviewed – researchers at the University of California, Davis found lab-grown or “cultivated” imitation meat’s environmental impact is likely to be “orders of magnitude” higher than retail beef, based on current and near-term production methods.

Now, we have the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry arguing agriculture needs to change, and the Netherlands and Ireland are considering killing thousands of head of livestock for climate change purposes.

While I realize animal rights activists are leading the charge, it just doesn’t make any sense. That, and the government is trying to tell us what kind of cars to buy, stoves to cook on and foods to eat. They are lying to us about what is good.

We need to stand up and say, “Enough is enough.”

Dennis Sun is the publisher of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, a weekly agriculture newspaper available in print and online. To subscribe or view the edition online, visit or call 800-967-1647.

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Dennis Sun

Agriculture Columnist